So You Want to Be a Lawyer

It’s been four years since my dude Kevin decided he was going to pursue a law career. He made the decision for several reasons but mostly, he’s got the knack for it. His brain is just wired for all that analytical lawyerly thinking.

I have always thought he would make a terrific attorney and like any good woman who believes in her man, I stood right by him, clasped his hand, and said, “I’m with you all the way.”

I was all,

swanson

Because we were in our late twenties when we embarked on this journey together (think almost 30) and neither of us are trust fund babies, we knew it would mean a lot of hard work and sacrifice for a number of years.  But we believed the end would justify the means.

So, if you too, also, as well are thinking of going back to get a juris doctorate, get used to this phrase for the next few years of your life:

budget

Let’s start at the very beginning. You have to study for the LSATs, the exam that determines where you can go to school, which is actually kind of a Big Deal. Law schools come in “tiers” and whether your school is in a top tier will likely decide what kind of law career you have (ambulance chaser vs. corporate litigator vs. unemployed altogether).

The LSATs are comprised of bizarre types of questions, including “logic.” Kevin played lots of logic games over the summer of 2009. He read me a few sample test questions, and let’s just say…

muppet

It’s definitely a good thing it wasn’t me who was going to try my hand at law school.

After a summer of studying full-time for the LSATs (and there is a TON of pressure to try to reach that brass ring score of 170 and above), the exam happens. The first hurdle is over!

snoopy

After an agonizing wait, you get your LSAT score, which will elicit the below response, whether you’re relieved or upset at the score:

cry

Once you’ve digested your score, which will determine where you can actually try to get into school, come the law school applications.

bgc

Keep in mind, we’re only at the precursor to actually attending law school. All of this costs a lot of time and money, so prepare to batten down the hatches. It’s a longass ride.

After you’ve applied for your schools, most students join the online forums to banter and agonize over when they’re going to find out whether they’ve gotten in. There is a lot of comparison and speculation going on, especially those who brag about their super high LSAT score, or, they got a lower score, like a 160, and think they’re going to Northwestern.

really

At long last, applications are being reviewed, and acceptances start happening. Because Kevin applied at the height of the recession, when everyone else was running away to school to wait it out, the competition was so intense, that he even got waitlisted at a school that any other year he would have sailed right in. It was like,

tim

If you’re an above average potential law student, however, chances are you’ll get accepted to one of your top choices of schools, and life suddenly starts looking up.

cher

If you go to a good law school, you’ll be moving. Although moving is definitely its own level of hell, it’s worth it when you feel happy about all the potential your future holds. Still…

ugh

Fast forward to 1L year. You find out that there are actually reading assignments due before the first day of class on any given semester.

Hate

Additionally, the first semester of law school weeds out anyone who doesn’t have it in them to really make it.

The competition is even greater now, because you’re up against all the smartest kids in class from all around the country, concentrated into one class of two hundred something people. You don’t go anywhere without a lot of books and your laptop. And I mean, you don’t go anywhere without your laptop.

laptop

After you make it through your first semester, here comes your first set of finals! Here’s where you eat, sleep, and breathe at the law library for about two weeks straight, after you’ve already spent six weeks on “outlines” with your study group. Your entire grade is based on one final exam. You don’t get brownie points for homework. At some point, someone will turn to you and say,

mess

And social activities?

ru

After you’ve had an unpaid internship for your 1L summer, we get to the 2L school year, where you find out that law firms recruit for summer associates in OCTOBER.

bang

Kevin took some other people’s advice and crammed his 2L year full with more required classes and other such important things like Moot Court and an externship. And don’t forget the illustrious Law Review! There is an insane desire to stand out as the creme de la creme but it’s hard when everyone is super smart. Each weekend, I would watch him toddle off to the law library. Meanwhile, I acted very needy as I was feeling ignored.

cling

If you’re fortunate to snag a paying job for the 2L summer, you get a small taste of what it’s like to work in a law firm and even earn some lawyer money.

Nene

I remember that feeling of having the option to spend money a little frivolously.

spray

When the money goes away after a paying summer job, it is a sad time. You have to go back to doing things like selling plasma to make ends meet.

broke

By the time 3L year rolls around, you’re a “senior.” It’s old hat. Your approach to your finals may look something like this:

finals

At long last, you make it to graduation. It’s here! You’re a a proud graduate of law school!

I'm

But now it’s time to get down to srs bsns because the biggest hurdle is yet to come–that of studying for your state Bar exam. (Don’t forget about moving and/or finding money to sustain you for the Summer of Studying Hell, because if you thought taking the Bar might be economical, you would be way way wrong.)

You might have one to two weeks to move and relax between graduating and beginning your bar review of choice.

burnt

As you begin your Bar study, you’ll come to find that it doesn’t get any easier from the outset up until the actual exam. (Click here for a classic NSFW blog post regarding how it messes with your mind.)

Reading

Your friends and family (particularly your roommates or your significant other) may find you testy when you’re interrupted whilst taking a timed test…

what

…warranting this kind of reaction:

wiig

When you’re not studying, you can only think about two other things:

sundays

By the time you get to the last weekend before the actual exam, you’re feeling like this:

weep

You can’t imagine life after the Bar, even if you do have a job offer already. All you can think about are the words on your giant box of index cards, trying to put certain laws and lessons into mnemonic devices and acronyms that make sense only in a special kind of hell.

At long last, you make it to the testing center (with its absurdly strict rules that makes the TSA look friendly and relaxed). You endure each drudging day of the exam. (Some Bar exams are three days, which makes even me want to cry for those poor bastards.)

You may emerge feeling something like this:
eyes

When you’re done with the Bar, even if your future is tenuous and you’re unsure what the result is going to be, you can’t help but feel:

brit

I guess what I’m saying is really think about it before you put yourself through four years of unequaled stress, endurance tests, competitions with your fellow man, scavenger hunts for money (read: student loans!), and an unparalleled background check (“character and fitness test”). That’s all BEFORE you job hunt in a recovering economy that is seeing law firms, big and small, tighten their belts and hire fewer and fewer graduating law students.

Make sure you really want it, kids.

Special thanks to http://realitytvgifs.tumblr.com and http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com for their amazing GIF contributions!

Bar Study Means Boredom

Allow me to set the mood by prefacing my whining post with this still from one of my most favorite movies, L.A. Story:

BBBAhhh, the stage is set.

It is Saturday night and I have been sitting at my computer for easily an hour or more. I honestly haven’t been keeping an eye on the clock. I gave up watching TV downstairs, since the Kevster is studying for the Bar exam and I grew tired of streaming inanity.

I’ve twirled in my chair; I’ve stared off into space; I’ve thought about how bored I am; I’ve thought about what a luxury it is to be bored; I’ve thought about how annoying it is that my right leg and foot have been tingling off and on every time I sit or lie down, rendering it impossible to laze around and do nothing; I’ve felt sorry for myself that I’ve been cooped up all day and now I’m bored and have nothing to do; I’ve thought about Stephen King, how he survived being hit by a car, picked himself up, struggled through excruciating pain during physical therapy, and he still manages to churn out lengthy novels; and I’ve thought about how normally I cherish being in my little nest on the weekends.

But something about this evening has me twitchy.

In between that last sentence and this one, I’ve browsed Amazon, Facebook, my email, completed most of a crossword puzzle, fiddled with my hair, read a quote by Geneen Roth (author of Women, Food, & God) to try and help me remember to embrace my life as it is now, I’ve thought about how cool it would be if there was a rollerskating rink JUST for adults that was open all night and played all my favorite kinds of music, and I even remembered to be grateful that at least as of this moment, Mr. and Mrs. S. aren’t blaring music like they were last night, which forced us to hole up in the guest room with a carpet picnic. We actually ended up streaming another Sebastian Maniscalco routine, so it wasn’t a bad time.

Part of me wants to go for a drive. But since the city I live in is on the petite side, I’d just end up going in a circle (well, a square) and it wouldn’t be as mindless as I would really prefer it to be.

I’m not what you would call a “drinker,” so going out is off the table, especially alone. Going to a movie might be fun but then I’d have to go by myself (see above with “Bar study” being at the top of Kevin’s To Do List until August 1) and I don’t really feel like being around lots of people, either. I know, I’m being all, FEEL SORRY FOR ME. Sheesh, someone get me to White Whine already.

What this town is missing is an all-night coffee house that has soft (live) jazz playing, a place where I can sit and sip, while interchangeably staring off into space and watching people.

About the only things I haven’t resorted to doing are baking and doing any kind of craft. It’s too warm out to bake and quite frankly, the nihilism has taken over my mind and body–I’m past the point of no return.

I’ve reached the stage of ennui where all I can actually do is complain about how bored I am.

Bored
Beyond
Belief!

Kevin and I have made it through four years of his prepping for and completing law school, and now we’re rounding out the journey with his studying for the Bar exam, which will happen at the end of July.

I know I’m not the one who has to cram all of this knowledge into my brain so I can pursue my dream career. My job is to be supportive and to stand by my man and even to help him study, if need be, while I sit idly by and figure out what the heck to do with myself, since studying doesn’t brake for weekends, no siree Bob.

When one person in a relationship has to study for the Bar for two months straight, the other person gets to spend all kinds of time with herself on her own, to the point where she’s bored doing her usual introverted activities. Even watching whatever I want on TV lost its appeal.

I need my fairy godmother to come along and fast forward time to August, when the studying and the exam are behind us and we can move on with our lives.

(Speaking of fairies, did you know there is something called “fairy gardening?” I just learned about it the other day. It’s a seriously for real thing. Google it!)

Look at that, I’ve managed to make it to 10 p.m. I’m going to see if I can’t go bore myself to sleep.

Bored-Cat